October 3, 2009 on 1:23 pm
When one thinks of a mother, one usually thinks of one’s birth mother. Sometimes through death or separation, we do not have our mothers in physical form. At these times, a yearning and longing for a mother arises. This yearning or keening for a mother sometimes takes a more universal form. For some it takes form through the worshipping of Mother Earth or Gaia, as she is called. What is it about this Mother Earth that so tantalizing fulfills a longing for some for the Mother in form? Perhaps it is the fertility that she expresses through the mountains, rivers, oceans, trees and all their various expressions. Or is it the feeling of being nurtured and protected as one breathes in the essence of the Mother as she is expressed through bountiful nature.
In human form, she is known to us as Mother, Auntie, Good Friend or Goddess whom we might worship in her myriad forms. With our good female friends whom we might unconsciously resonate with as surrogate mothers, we sometimes are able to fulfill that longing. Unfortunately sometimes, these surrogate mothers might disappoint us and we feel untethered once again. It is during those times that one might reach out to the Goddess or the Universal Mother as expressed through the Goddess as consolation.
Those of us brought up in the Christian tradition have sought the Mother through Mother Mary. She is the sublime essence of motherhood. She is the gentle, seemingly submissive mother until of course she shows her bravery and fortitude when her son is taken from her; then she has historically become a representation of steadfastness and perseverance and we pray to her for courage and sustainment.
The Mothers White, Green and Black Tara are other representations of the Mother. A Buddhist goddess especially popular in Tibet, the name “Tara” represents “she who saves.” She is a goddess of universal compassion and represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is told that her compassion can be stronger than a mother’s love for her children.
Of course the Hindu lineage has a total proliferation of Goddesses. The Mothers Durga and Kali are more fierce representations of the Mother. Even though these two goddesses have been frightening to those to whom she has appeared, there are even more frightening countenances to perceive in the form of the Mahavidyas.
When one loses one’s own outer covering and ego as it were, these forms somehow do not terrify. It is good to remember that the ego is the only thing that becomes terrified of these goddesses. When we can acknowledge and claim our simplicity, we can see beyond the terrifying aspect of the Mother and become reconciled and fed by her kindness and gentleness. How interesting it is that the horrific Mother only appears to the ego.
A mythological representation of the Mother is Isis, a Goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and matron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, the downtrodden, as well as responding to the prayers of the wealthy. She was also the Goddess of motherhood and fertility.
One of the aspects of the Mother who have resided amongst us in flesh is that of Sarada Devi, the wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a 19th century mystic of Bengal. Sarada Devi is addressed as Holy Mother by the followers of the Ramakrishna monastic order and were regarded by them as their own mother. After the guru’s passing, they looked to Sarada Devi for advice and encouragement.
Then of course there is the Mother as reflected in Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, the guru of Kashi Ashram. A Kali devotee, Ma is known for her frankness and candor and ability to slice through unworthiness and illusion. She is also revered by her many devotees for her compassion and kindness.
Our prayer for this day is to ask the Mother to receive you into her abundant arms, to cherish and comfort you throughout your days, and to bind you to her essence so that you too may hold and comfort as mother all those who need you. Jai Ma!
For books, audio, video and statues of the Mother, visit Ma’s India Spiritual Gifts.